A motorcycle stunt rider turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover and their newborn child, a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop navigating a department ruled by a corrupt detective.
Dean Pereira and Cindy Heller Pereira are a young, working class married couple - Dean currently working as a painter, and Cindy working as a nurse in a medical clinic - with a young daughter named Frankie. Despite their relatively tender ages, they are both ravaged by the life they've eked out together and by the experiences they've had leading into their marriage. Dean, a high school drop out, comes from a broken home, where he never really had a mother figure. He never saw himself getting married or having a family despite falling in love at first sight with Cindy. He doesn't have any professional ambition beyond his current work - which he enjoys since he feels he can knock off a beer at 8 o'clock in the morning without it affecting his work - although Cindy believes he has so much more potential in life. Cindy also comes from a dysfunctional family, with her own mother and father not setting an example of a harmonious married or family life. One of her previous serious ...Written by
The older appearance of Dean is based on director Derek Cianfrance, who is bearded and has pattern baldness. The clothing of the younger Dean is also based on Cianfrance's style of clothing. See more »
During a 'past' flashback when Dean and Cindy are outside the Boutique store, the camera focuses and moves with Cindy, while that's happening, a car drives by and being a night scene, the headlights from the car briefly illuminates both Cindy and the Cameraman's shadow on the background wall. (at around 54 mins) See more »
I don't know. I feel like I should just stop... You know, just stop thinking about it, but I can't. Maybe I've seen too many movies, you know, love at first sight. What do you think about love at first sight? You think you could love somebody by just looking at them? But the thing is, man, I felt like I knew her.
See more »
The initial credits, showing major cast and crew, play over a montage of stills from the film and clips of fireworks. See more »
No matter what else is yet to be released, you will not see two better performances this year than Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.
It's almost impossible to imagine anyone in anything coming close. In the defensive, aggressive way he turns every line of dialogue around on the speaker as a hidden affront to his insecurities, Gosling reminded me of no less than De Niro in Raging Bull as the older Dean. Playing the younger version, he channels the charm, romanticism, and recklessness of a 1960s Paul Newman.
Williams, who has emerged as the best American actress 30 and under, pulls off a performance that recalls Gena Rowlands' work with Cassavettes. Which is not to say either is an imitation, they aren't "doing method" or aping the authenticity of previous greats. They're 100% the real deal, so good you can only compare them to the best, and they fully embody these characters in every frame. They made me believe, they made me care, they broke my heart.
The story is a familiar one because it's the most common source of drama in life and art but avoids cliché and instead handles the subject with uncommon insight and grace. The lack of context scene-to-scene keeps the audience engaged and on their feet, filling in the intentional holes with their own experience and lending the film a universal relatability. In good times and bad, we can recognize our own triumphs and failures in love. It captures the joyous highs and devastating lows of relationships better than anything I can recall. Gosling singing while Williams tap dances, what she reveals to Gosling on the bridge and how he reacts, the scene in the doctor's office towards the end... they achieve that sense of cinematic transcendence so rare these days. They simply don't craft scenes like this or give actors roles this fully realized in Hollywood anymore.
It's clear this was a labor of love for all involved and it paid off in spades. This is the best American film I've seen this year.
271 of 317 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this